After such a stellar stretch, the Indiana Pacers were due for a letdown game, and boy did they throw it away against the Toronto Raptors, losing 100-98 in overtime and snapping their 15-game home winning streak. And full credit to the Raptors too, for never giving up and fighting through till the end despite getting some pretty dubious calls against them.
What happened was this: the Pacers, who led most of the way, had a 4 point lead in regulation with 10 seconds to go. It should have been game over at that stage as long as they could knock down free throws. Instead, they allowed Amir Johnson to get a couple of offensive rebounds off a Rudy Gay miss (the Raptors were huge on the offensive glass with 17 for the night) for the putback. Two point game.
Instead of calling a timeout, David West throws a boneheaded pass down the court that gets picked off by Gay. Amir Johnson misses with a little over a second to go, but grabs his own rebound -- again -- and lets go of the ball virtually at the buzzer. The ball drops in. Overtime.
The Pacers, playing their fourth game in five nights, looked pretty gassed, and they threw away plenty of opportunities in OT. George Hill misses a free throw that would have given the Pacers a 1-point lead with 1:30 left in OT. David West then just throws it out of bounds with the game tied and 50 seconds to go. And on what should have been the Pacers' final offensive possession, George Hill dribbles the ball out of bounds on a drive, giving the Raptors 10 seconds for their final shot.
Rudy Gay delivered with a stepback jumper against Paul George, and the Pacers had 1.7 seconds left for a final shot, but George's leaner went in-and-out off the glass. Game over. Raptors win, Pacers blow a perfect chance to extend their 5-game winning streak and 15-game home winning streak and fall to 31-20.
It's a disappointing loss, for sure, and it's one they can certainly learn from.